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  • My Degree Is Black

Astoria Stubbs | Jackson St. | '09

Welcome to the MDIB Yard Astoria Stubbs!

Reppin': Thee Jackson State University

Grad: 2009

Major: Marketing & Small Business Entrepreneurship

Occupation: Hair Stylist | Barber | Cultural Creative

Can you briefly walk us through your HBCU story? How it started, how you got there, and how it helped you get to where you are today.

I'm a 3rd generation to Tiger! My family roots and legacy run deep within JSU. I knew from a young age that I would be attending college there. Most of my family attended a SWAC school, so when deciding where to attend, I knew the choice was Jackson State. My grandmother went there and actually grew up a few blocks from campus. Growing up we traveled to football games since my dad has been a season ticket holder since the early 90s. My experience leading up to school and during cultivated different experiences I could only receive by attending an HBCU.

How did your HBCU shape you and impact your understanding of Black Culture?

Black Culture is definitely an experience that can not fully be explained it has to be experienced. What I can say is that my experiences while attending JSU built long-lasting friendships and a better understanding of how amazing and creative we really are.

Before we go any further, let's have a brag session! Tell us about your HBCU(s). What are y'all known for? What are the most exciting things about the yard?

Thee Jackson State University is known for our band, The Sonic Boom of the South! Percussion and excellence- which includes The incomparable Prancing Jsettes. If you don't know, now you do. #googlethem We also have an amazing business program, which I'm happy to have the privilege of earning a degree.

What do you say to people who believe HBCUs are not as good as Predominantly White Institutions (PWI)?

I tell them the same thing my marketing professor, Dr. Smith, told me, "The curriculum is, all the same, it's just taught in different manners." HBCUs produce top candidates that work in all industries.


Tell us what you wish everyone in the world knew about the HBCU experience.

The legacies! A deep understanding that Black colleges were initially created for the education of Black people, but has surpassed that to become top competitive schools that produce top quality candidates in all industries, from all walks of life, all over the world. We just make everything, everywhere better.

Tell us about your most memorable HBCU experiences. (Yes we in yo business, tell us about all of 'em!)

The best experiences were the random "hot spots" on the yard, or watching the Sonic Boom of the South practice behind Alexander Hall as a freshman. Of course, I can't leave out the random game and karaoke nights in the Palisades with my girls, and someone always throwing together the best meals. If you haven't been to an HBCU game night or dorm party....have you really lived? No really...have you? Eddie's and Rubie's fish on Friday, and picking up Stamp burgers was always the move. They were definitely some experiences to remember.

Was it like Hillman on "A Different World"?

Was JSU like Hillman? That's a great comparison, but it was more than Hillman. It was like a scene out of Spike Lee's, School Daze, every day on campus.

As any alumni will tell you, HBCUs are nurturing environments. What person(s) during your HBCU experience deserves some flowers and recognition?

There are so many people to recognize and honor, but here are a few:

Ms. Curry- My first business teacher who taught me to always be professional. This a lesson I still use to this day.

Dr. JR Smith- Rest his soul, was a hard professor, but he was fair and prepared me for life.

Dr. Mary White- She believed in me and my entrepreneurial abilities.

How are you using what you learned from them in your everyday life?

The tools and skills I have learned, acquired, and unlocked while at JSU, I use in some capacity every day. Whether it's marketing skills, negotiation, or just the way I communicate in certain situations.

Thank you for showing us Your Yard and telling us Your Experience. Before you go, tell us, what do you imagine for the future of HBCUs?

In the future, I imagine better funding for HBCUs! More visibility and financial support for our athletic programs. And more alumni support. HBCUs will get the recognition they deserve.

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